Why Do We Need High-Capacity Clips on Our Guns? Really: We Want to Know.

Alright, believe it or not, this is a question, not a diatribe. I really do want to know. What is the downside of a ban on high-capacity ammo clips?

First I should ask: Do you think high-capacity clips are a significant factor in gun slaughters? It seems to me they are. In the Gabby Giffords slaughter, in the Aurora and Newtown slaughters, the amount of killing looks like it had a lot to do with the unbroken spell of absolute helplessness cast on the victims by the clips attached to the guns in question.

By unbroken spell, I mean there was never an instant, a break, a pause when the gun could not kill. Very few people can lunge into a gun that's still barking bullets. It's the re-load: that's when victims can attack.

Until the re-load, the only thing a victim can do is cower and die. So if you ban high-capacity clips, you force a faster re-load, which will give victims a better shot at attacking the shooter.


If the idea of a high-capacity clip ban is a bad one, please tell me here why it is a bad one. Hey, look: I have covered this stuff as a reporter and engaged in barroom debates about it all my life, and during that time my opinions occasionally have been swayed by smart gun rights advocates. I do not believe I have a closed mind on this. I really want to know.

If we do need high-capacity clips, tell me what we need them for. If you own them, tell us why. We need to be honest and candid about guns: it's an important way we can all do something meaningful after Newtown. And when I say "we," I do not mean only people who are opposed to guns.

That's sort of easy right now. It gives us a place to direct our grief, anger and terror. We can stand up and rail against guns and maybe get some kind of cathartic effect out of it. The gun rights defenders have it a lot tougher at this moment. If they speak up to defend their point of view, they have to worry they will look like they're defending the shooters.

For the sake of those children, we all need to back away from that line and show each other some respect on this issue, because that's the only way we can talk, and I don't know any way to solve anything except by talking.

So tell me. Really. What could be wrong with a ban on clips? Is it a slippery slope argument? Fine, make it. Is there a scenario in your mind that would require you to have access to high capacity clips? What is it? Just describe it. I guarantee you: even if I disagree absolutely with what you say, somebody else here will have your back. We are a very diverse group here on the lawn.

We all need to step up and speak. The one way we really do support the shooters is by keeping our mouths shut.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze